Sunday, February 24, 2013

Safe Back Home

The Mission Team arrived home to Farmington at about 5:45 P.M. on Sunday. Our trip back was pleasant, clear roads and nice fellowship. The Team would like to thank all of you for your gifts, thoughts, and prayers. We'll have a presentation at church to describe what we did but in summary, we served the people of our churches and Christ by serving the people in Louisiana.
Your Mission Team sharing lunch on Sunday north of Dayton, Ohio.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Half-way Home

How many of you have been wished
Happy Birthday at 5:30 A.M.?
Your mission team was up before 5:00 A.M. this morning, packed, and on the road at 5:50 A.M. for the trip home. Of course it wasn't all our idea. The Oklahoma crew got up at 4:00 A.M and once the lights came on it was hard to get any sleep. We had some good old fashioned thunderstorms during the night that kept many of us from getting as much sleep as we wanted. Oh well, aside from the drivers of the two trucks, several team members caught up on their sleep by napping while we drove east and then north.

Bringing Pecans home seems to have
become a team tradition.

Most of the day was an un-eventful drive talking, reading, doing crossword puzzles, etc. while the country zipped by at 70 MPH. We did stop at Priester Pecans, south of Montgomery, Alabama to "sample' some pecans and bring a few home.

There's nothing better than a surprise
birthday cake.

Today was Pastor Bob's birthday. The mission team had carefully planned several events for him. It began with balloons in his truck and a banner presentation at 5:30 A.M.  We then spent the day riding in the trucks. Once we got to Bowling Green, Kentucky, we checked into our motel and then headed off to the local Olive
Gardens for dinner, another team tradition. The team surprised Bob with birthday cards we'd lugged from Farmington to Slidell and back to Bowling Green for his birthday. The restaurant was kind enough to provide Bob with a complimentary birthday cake.
Tomorrow will be another early departure. It looks like we'll have good weather for our trip back to Farmington.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Day 5

Why are there smiles BEFORE
the work day begins?
Temperature high 60's and rain on and off the day... there, the weather is done. Put on a second coat of paint, cleaned windows and floors and got the second house almost ready into move in... there, now you know what we did as far as work. But one of the best things we did today was lunch.

With all the good food we have
why is he eating a brush?
The homeowners from our first house invited us over for pizza for lunch. They told us what it was like to live through Katrina when they got 8 feet of water in their home to Issac where they got 4 feet of water (not the 3” someone had told us earlier.) Now that their house has been restored they are applying for a grant to raise the house. Yes, raise the house. The one's across the street are 13 feet off of the ground and grants are available to help pay to raise the house above flood stage.

Methodists at work.
We leave early tomorrow morning. If all goes well we'll be in Bowling Green Kentucky tomorrow night.
You may not know it but each member of the mission team has been writing different posts for the blog. Tonight we're all going to write this blog post. The question we are each going to answer is “what was the most important part or parts of the week for you?” Note: No names are listed. Can you guess who said what?

  • At least winning one game of Rummy
  • To be able to serve Christ by serving the people of Louisiana
  • Hearing the story of determination from the family that owned the first house
  • To be able to make a difference in someones life
  • Finishing up a house so that the owners can move back into it this weekend, they have been out of it since August
  • Having all of the kids from Western University in London Ontario join us for grace before our morning meal
  • The bread pudding
  • Throwing my diet caution to the wind
  • I like that the group worked together as a team
  • Being tired at the end of the day but knowing that good work was done
  • Fellowship, sharing the mission experience with the team
  • Meeting the family from the first house
  • The opportunity to help people who are obviously in need
  • Unexpected blessings
  • Frank's leadership
  • The look of joy on the face of both women who received quilts from the Piecemakers
  • A week of great Cajun food
  • Helping people we were not intending to help
  • Enjoying the camaraderie of your team, especially Bob and Joyce
  • All of God's blessings for the beautiful week we've had down here
  • Having devotion time with my church friends


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Day 4

Rustoleum does wonders!
We had a busy but productive day at our second house. We applied the first coat of paint to all of the trim and interior doors and cleaned most of the windows, while Ron Smedley painted the security bars on the front door and windows, and exterior trim.  Thunderstorms were forecast all day, but they must have passed around us.
The gentleman who owns the home has lived in the neighborhood for most of his life, and his father still lives here.    While we and other teams have worked on his home, he has been living and working four hours away.
Close quarters and little natural light.
The neighborhood where we worked in East New Orleans is located in a very low, flat, treeless area adjacent to Lake Pontchartrain, and is relatively poor. The houses were well-maintained, but a few had not been touched since Hurricane Katrina. Our house is just now being repaired from that storm, now seven and a half years ago.  We learned from a neighbor that the entire neighborhood had been under about 3 1/2 feet of water. During Hurricane Isaac, the worst they encountered was a power outage.
We were able to divide up the work among several rooms at a time.  Because the house did not yet have electrical power, we had to run extension cords from a meter at the street to work lights in the darker rooms and closets.
After we quit for the day, all pooped out, we stopped at frozen yogurt shop, for the second time this week. Upon our return to camp, we learned that the owners of our first house have invited us to lunch tomorrow.
Presentation of the Piecemakers quilt.
We had two special treats after dinner tonight.   Our cook Andrea brought her 85-year old mother, granddaughter and other family members. It became a lively and wonderful evening. the granddaughter was so excited to join us and to be our server. Andrea's mom entertained us with comments and stories.  In gratitude for the great food Andrea has been preparing for us, we gave her mother a quilt the Piecemakers made. It was well received since she just recently was released from the hospital. 
One happy pastor!
In turn, Andrea prepared for us some awesome, hot bread pudding, topped with browned meringue and praline sauce. Some of our team members knew that their diets for the week were shot for sure.

We're looking forward to meeting the family of our first house tomorrow, finishing up as much as we can of our second home, and preparing to return to Farmington First on Saturday, to share more of our adventures with you.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Day 3

How many Methodists does it take???
What do you do when you finish one house and it's ready to be re-occupied by its family? Of course, what you do is start another project. While our first house was only ten minutes from the Epworth Center where we're staying, our second house is 20 miles away on the other side of Lake Pontchartrain in the city of East New Orleans (pronounced Nawlins). We spent the morning taking supplies to this new project house, taking stock of what work needs to be done, making a list of the things we then realized we still needed, and developing a plan. With that serious and hard work accomplished, we spent the rest of the day exploring the French Quarter of Nawlins.

Visiting Nawlins means two things – food and music!

No, that's not the Magic Kingdom, it's Saint Louis Cathederal.
Our first stop was Cafe du Monde where we enjoyed their famous coffee and beignet (a donut kind of thing with lots of powdered sugar – mmmm good!). Then we headed to the old U.S. Mint building, which is now part of the Louisiana State Museum, to hear a talented local jazz pianist play a concert (also mmmm good!). For lunch, we went to a local favorite, the Gumbo Shop, where we enjoyed crab cakes, po-boys, chicken and andouille (with alligator sausage), and other goodies (again, mmmm good!).

Tour guide Frank leads the team on it's walk.
After listening to some street musicians and admiring the architecture, we returned to the Epworth Center for dinner (yes, dinner – this time crawfish spaghetti – one more time, mmmm, good!), we found that we were being joined by a group of 28 students from Western University (London, Ontario) who came to Slidell to work on Habitat homes but had to change accommodations. There's plenty of room for them here and they will be eating their meals with the nine of us.

Now it's time to get a good night's rest so that we can paint, paint, and paint some more tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Day 2

Guess who found himself trapped under the counter while
installing a drain line for the dishwasher?
Hi Church, it's our second day at the house on Slidell Road. Ron and Bob managed to hook up the dishwasher and it works! They finished the kitchen sink drain which had a small leak. So, once more off to the hardware store to buy more parts. No leaks! Larry and Ron fixed the drain to the hot water heater. The team divided into two parts. Joyce, Nancy, Ann, and Ed spent most of the day painting including the kitchen and laundry room, all of the baseboard trim, the living room ceiling, and the final touch ups. While they did that Rena became the bath tub cleanup expert. Larry and Frank focused on the windows, inside and out, low and high. Once the painting was done everyone helped in cleaning the floors, dusting, cleaning ceiling flans, cleaning up plaster dust, etc.

How many Methodists does it take to
replace a furnace filter?
On the way back to the camp from the house we stopped and asked a teenager for the nearest ice cream store and he told us he didn't know of any! But he did know of a yogurt shop. The problem is that traffic was bad and the only way to get to the yogurt store was to take a short cut through a bank. Yes, we all waved at the teller as we drove through the drive up line. The kid may not know ice cream but the yogurt was great.

We're glad we did God's work today. We're all tired and looking forward to having Jambalaya for dinner. We'll probably work on a puzzle or read and then have an early night. Tomorrow we'll start a new house. God bless all.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Day 1

Our house is a very very very nice house ...
After a delicious breakfast made by our cook, Andrea, we set out for Slidell Avenue where our house is located in St. Tammany Parish within the Slidell city limits. Fortunately, our entire team worked together today, painting ceilings, walls, trim work, finishing three bedrooms and one of the two baths.

The home is owned by a family who suffered water and roof damage from both Hurricanes Katrina and Isaac. The entire home was submerged in 3 inches of flood water.
Guess who put the tallest guy on the ladder...
Some of the team worked on the hot water heater, moving it's location and placing a drain tray underneath. A new kitchen sink and faucet purchased from Home Depot with our church gift cards, was installed by Pastor Bob and Ron Smedley. Tomorrow they will see if it actually works!!! We sure hope so since some of us spent more time at Home Depot then inside the house further comment needed!

We are happy we accomplished so much today, and following some pain medication and a great dinner prepared by Andrea, Cajun red beans and rice with homemade cornbread, we are ready to rest our muscles and prepare for more adventure tomorrow!! Good night...